Public health officials at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department are reminding the public that now is the time to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas.
“Recent rains combined with warmer weather have made conditions favorable for mosquito breeding,” said Matthew Work, Director of Environmental Health at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. “Mosquitoes breed in standing water if it lasts at least seven days. “
There is always a concern about mosquito-borne diseases. “Our main focus is to reduce the risk of West Nile virus, and viral infections such as Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and California La Crosse encephalitis/meningitis,” Work said. “All of these diseases can only be spread by the bite of an infected mosquito carrying the virus.”
Last year, Richland County had both a confirmed case of West Nile virus (WNV) and a confirmed case of La Crosse encephalitis. Both virus cases were caused from the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Health Department officials are encouraging all Richland County residents to take precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:
• • Recycle all unused tires or make sure they are not holding water. Each tire can become a breeding area for thousands of mosquitoes.
• • Eliminate all water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flowerpots, from your property.
• • Eliminate or drain water features or areas on your property where standing water lasts more than seven (7) days.
• • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and drain properly.
• • Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.
• • Change water in birdbaths weekly.
• • Change water in kiddie pools regularly and eliminate standing water that collects around the edges of the pools.
To avoid possible mosquito bites:
• • Typically mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. However, mosquitoes known to cause California La Crosse encephalitis/meningitis also bite during the daylight hours.
• • When outdoors, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes, and socks. Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes.
• • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil and follow label directions especially when applying to young children; usually a concentration of 30 percent DEET for adults and 10 percent or less for children is effective.
What Are the Symptoms of West Nile virus?
• • Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
• • Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
• • No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
• Anyone bitten by an infected mosquito could become ill. Children under age 16 are at greater risk of infection for La Crosse encephalitis. Symptoms for La Crosse encephalitis are similar to those above but children under age 16 are more likely to develop severe illness. Symptoms may occur five to 15 days after a bite.
More information on mosquitoes is available at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department website: http://www.richlandhealth.org as well as the Health Department’s Facebook page at “Richland Health Department.” You can also call Environmental Health at 419-774-4520.
The Health Department is conducting weekly mosquito spraying in contracted areas. Those weekly sprayings are posted every Friday on the website and are available at: http://www.richlandhealth.org/learning-center/mosquito-spraying
The Ohio Department of Health has additional information on West Nile virus at:
Detailed information on mosquito-spread diseases is also available from the Centers for Disease Control at the following links:
• West Nile virus: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm
• California La Crosse Encephalitis: http://www.cdc.gov/lac/